Preparing for Your First Whale Watching Trip

Did you know that nearly 80 percent of all life on earth is found in the ocean? The ocean is as vast as it is unexplored, covering three quarters of the planet’s surface. Despite this treasure trove of possibility, humankind has only explored about a tenth of the seas. If you love the ocean and want to get to know it more, consider visiting the San Juan Islands and go whale watching. Who knows, you may see some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures: orcas.

For first timers, here are a couple of tips to make your adventure the best experience possible.

Wear Proper Attire

Temperatures at sea can be 10 – 15 degrees cooler than on land, so make sure to dress in layers to help manage any cool breezes. Likewise, bring a rain jacket to be safe––you never know when a rain shower might occur, so it’s best not to get caught off guard. Also, wear rubber-soled shoes as the boat deck can get slippery.

Slather Some Sunscreen

You won’t be sunbathing on the boat, but you are going to be exposed to a lot of sunlight, as whale-watching tours typically last up to three to six hours. To protect your skin, slather on some sunscreen and reapply it every couple of hours.

Prepare for Motion Sickness

Does riding a bus trigger motion sickness for you? If so, you’ll want to prepare for the boat ride during your whale watching trip. Remember, this will be a long ride and the ocean will be rocking the entire time, so take anti-motion sickness medicine 30 – 60 minutes before boarding.

Manage Expectations

Yes, you booked this trip to see whales, but manage your expectations. While the ship’s crew will try their best to find whales, this isn’t always guaranteed –– the whales aren’t working on a schedule! Embrace the mindset that this is an ocean adventure which allows you to experience the sea breeze and take in the majesty of the ocean and enjoy all sightings and aquatic life.  A whale sighting is nice, but not an assured bonus.


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